Tabcorp, Tatts merger expected by August

Tabcorp expects its proposed $11 billion merger with gaming rival Tatts Group to be completed by August.

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Tabcorp chairman Paula Dwyer said the Australian Competition Tribunal’s approval of the merger on Tuesday is an important step towards creating a “world class, diversified gambling entertainment group.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with Tatts to successfully complete the transaction and are working towards implementation in August 2017,” Ms Dwyer said in a statement.

The deal will deliver significant value for shareholders of both companies and “material benefits” to other key stakeholders, she said.

The combined company is forecast to generate annual revenue of more than $5 billion and dominate Australia’s tote betting market by bringing together TAB and the Tatts-owned UniTAB.

Tabcorp said it still expects the merger to deliver at least $130 million in earnings annually from synergies and business improvements, which will be realised in the first full year after completion of the integration.

“The combination will bring together two great Australian businesses, well positioned to invest, innovate and compete in a global gambling entertainment marketplace,” Ms Dwyer said.

Tabcorp shares were up 17 cents, or 3.7 per cent, at $4.80 at 1430 AEST, and Tatts shares were up 16 cents, or 3.8 per cent, at $4.33.

Meanwhile, Tabcorp said it expects its revenue for the year to June 30 to be in the range of $2.22 billion to $2.24 billion, growth of 1.4 per cent to 2.3 per cent from the previous year.

Net profit before significant items is forecast to be between $173 million and $180 million, down from $186 million in 2015/16.

ACT president Justice John Middleton said the tribunal was satisfied the proposed merger of Tabcorp and Tatts would benefit the public.

The only condition imposed by the tribunal is that Tabcorp continues with the already agreed sale of its Queensland gaming machine monitoring business, Odyssey, in response to concerns over competition in the sector.

Tabcorp said the competition watchdog has given the nod of approval to the proposed purchaser, Australian National Hotels, a subsidiary of Federal Group.